“In Canada lesbians are considered hot!” says the promotion that appeared on social media channels yesterday. “In Saudi Arabia if you’re a lesbian YOU DIE!“
The ad then switches to all caps: “WHY ARE WE GETTING OUR OIL FROM COUNTRIES THAT DON’T THINK LESBIANS ARE HOT?!“
You may be surprised to learn that this ad is not the creation of a horny, heterosexual 13 year-old boy, but a purported adult named Robbie Picard, who also happens to be gay.
Many of my American readers, if asked where the U.S. imports most of its oil from would answer “Saudi Arabia”. They’d be wrong: the country from which the U.S. imports the most oil is its neighbor, Canada. In fact, Canadians provide Americans with almost 4 times the oil as the Saudis.
Most of Canada’s oil is in the Canadian province of Alberta, which sometimes gets called “the Texas of Canada”. The oil is contained in the Oil Sands, one of the world’s largest deposits of bitumen, a molasses-like form of petroleum, which is stuck in a lot of sandstone that’s been broken up to varying degrees.
The Oil Sands are a great source of energy, profit, and jobs as well as a great source of environmental destruction. For the former, check out these then-and-now photos of Calgary, Alberta’s largest city. If you want to see the latter, just do a Google image search for “oil sands canada”.
Faced with growing concerns about the environmental effects of oil and oil production, conservative political activist, right-wing crank, and failed low-budget Roger Ailes wannabe Ezra Levant helped popularize the term “ethical oil” as a way to refocus the debate away from environmentalism and towards human rights. This is odd, considering Levant’s own battles with the Alberta Human Rights Commission and gleeful willingness to publish false stories about Muslims.
Like Levant, Robbie Picard is also a promoter of the Oil Sands who uses the ideas behind “ethical oil”. Picard is an openly gay, Métis (having both European and First Nations ancestry) man who’s considered to be the unofficial ambassador for Fort McMurray, a city located in the heart of the Oil Sands (it’s also been recently devastated by an incredibly huge forest fire). Like many people who live there, he came seeking his fortune in the oil industry. He was profiled just earlier this month in Alberta Oil.
Picard used to be associated with the I Love Oilsands campaign, but split off from that group to become independent, and now promotes the Oil Sands in the Canada Oil Sands Community Facebook group, which has about 14,000 followers.
“When I say lesbians are hot, I don’t think there is anything wrong about saying that,” he said.
“I think all lesbians are hot and I’m not opposed to putting a picture of two guys up there. It was just to strike up a conversation. I find anybody is hot. I think two women kissing is hot. I think that something that is part of the fabric of our city — that we can do whatever we want in our country — that is hot.”
Geez, not even Paris Hilton uses the word “hot” that much:
“Some people really love it, some people are very upset. A lot of middle-aged white guys are the most upset, girls are laughing. It had a bigger response than I anticipated, but my intention was never to offend or objectify anyone. I’m going to have to think about what I’m going to do next.”
Yeah, you might just want to do that, Robbie. There’s an argument to be made for spending oil money that enriches a place like Canada rather than Saudi Arabia, but the horny frat-bro man-child approach isn’t the right way to go about it.